Canada Winter Games in Prince George: Five things to know
These games will not only showcase Canada's athletes, but northern B.C. as well
Prince George is set to welcome 2,400 athletes as the Canada Winter Games kick off this weekend in the northern B.C. city.
The event not only sets the stage for Canada's future Olympic athletes, but also allows the local community to showcase the best of Prince George.
Here are five things to know about the 2015 Canada Winter Games:
1. It's the first time the winter games have been held in British Columbia
Though the summer edition of the games have been held in B.C. before, this is the first time the winter games are being staged in B.C.
Prince George edged out Kamloops and Kelowna in the 15-month selection process.
In order to convince the selection committee, organizers put together a "We Are Winter" campaign, even going so far as to invite residents to dress in mitts and scarves and have a snowball fight in the middle of the summer.
2. This is the first time the Canada Games have had an official host First Nation
The city and the games have partnered with the local Lheidli T'enneh First Nation, who will be welcoming visitors into their pavilion in downtown Prince George.
As an official host First Nation, the Lheidli T'enneh have had their flag flying throughout the city.
There are also welcome and venue signs in English, French and Dakelh, the traditional language of the Lheidli T'enneh.
The medals for the games were designed by Lheidli T'enneh council member and artist Jenifer Anais-Pighin.
3. This is the training grounds for Canada's future Olympians
The Canada Winter Games are a stepping stone for Canada's future sports stars.
Notable alumni include Sydney Crosby, Steve Nash, and Catriona LeMay Doan.
More than half (64%) of Canada's most recent World Junior hockey team were games alumni, and at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, games alumni contributed 16 of the country's total 26 medals.
4. It's not just about sports
Every night during the games, there will be free entertainment on an outdoor stage in the games' village.
It's an all-Canadian lineup ranging from local acts such as Black Spruce Bog and Doug Koyama to national names including Alan Doyle, A Tribe Called Red, and Polaris Prize winner Tanya Tagaq.
Art exhibits will also be featured, and visitors can hop on free transit for the next two weeks to enjoy the games and festivities.
5. This is the biggest event in Prince George history
Prince George is gearing up to celebrate its 100th anniversary in March, and the Games are being seen as a showcase for the city and its culture.
In addition to the 2,400 athletes participating over the next two weeks, the games are expected to attract as many as 20,000 visitors.
With files by Andrew Kurjata